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Drake's Bay by Thomas Roberts
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Drake's Bay (edition 2010)

by Thomas Roberts

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33None335,711 (3.63)15
Member:JeffV
Title:Drake's Bay
Authors:Thomas Roberts
Info:Permanent Press (2010), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Mystery

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Drake's Bay by Thomas Roberts

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The author of this book seemed very knowledgeable and authoritative about the subject, and the book was well written. However, I did not connect with the characters at all. They seemed a little unrealistic, as if the author was living vicariously through the main character. It seems that one would only need to look at the photo on the book jacket to see what the character looks like. This just wasn't my type of book.
  mszacman | Jun 19, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm reviewing this a bit late, so my thoughts are not as fresh. I liked some aspects of this book a lot: mystery, old books/records, etc. However, I thought the sailing aspects really bogged down the book. That said, if I were interested in sailing, I probably would have liked this book a lot more. I like books with elements about books, food, knitting, etc.mixed in a lot because they're topics I'm interested in. Someone not interested in those topics probably wouldn't enjoy those books as much.

None of the characters resonated with me. They all seemed fairly flat. Again, if I had connected with the main characters more, I think I would have enjoyed the book more. ( )
  Somer | Apr 19, 2010 |
Two of T. A. Roberts’ previous mysteries were Edgar Award finalists, so I started reading Drake’s Bay with the knowledge that the author must know his craft. He also knows his sail craft, and near the end of the book I found myself absorbed in the most detailed and convincing sea-chase I’ve ever encountered. I suspect he knows his history as well, and the gentle art of research. He certainly creates a very convincing historian in Ethan Storey, and also a very convincing man. Ethan’s girlfriend is much younger than him, and though his love for her is deep, his trust often wavers. Meanwhile others pursue her for their own various reasons, while Ethan pursues the mystery of an ancient brass plate supposedly left on the coast near San Francisco when Sir Francis Drake believed he’d found the Northwest Passage.

All of which leads to a tangled tale with storms as quick and devastating as the weather out at sea, and friends and neighbors as treacherous as the shoals. Storey’s delight in old books is as real as his girlfriend’s delight in old buildings—I have to admit, despite how wonderfully life afloat is portrayed, I sympathized with her desire to settle down on land. But Storey has inherited the boat, as well as his curiosity, from his father, and that’s his life.

Inheritance and history walk hand-in-hand through the pages of this book; the feuding Willems and Ballentine families, bound to disagreement by fathers and grandfathers; feuding academic communities; feuding theories; and the history of a motherless boy whose father was already present but never quite known. Plus Drake sailing the seas. But relationships built on honest effort prove strong enough to weather all storms, and I’m just hoping those hints in the final paragraphs might mean there’s more books to come.

Drake’s Bay is a fine mystery with interesting characters, exciting action, and truly intriguing puzzles to be solved. Many thanks to Permanent Press for giving me the chance to review it. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Apr 12, 2010 |
In Drake’s Bay, Thomas Roberts crafts a thriller steeped in academia and history. Roberts pulls together Sir Francis Drake, California history, and boating in a completely innovative way. Even if the reader knows little about any of these subjects, Drake’s Bay seduces with its impeccable visual and historical details. When San Francisco State professor Ethan Storey takes on an outside project: to archive the library collection for a wealthy family, power-plays and danger follow.

Somewhere amidst all these old books might be Sir Francis Drake’s logbooks of his world voyage from 1577-1580, a huge find for historians and also there’s a brass plate from the voyage of infinite monetary worth for others [particularly two dueling families]. Other historians have catalogued the collection before Ethan and no one has found the true bounty. The logbooks may not even be among the hundreds of books that Ethan finds himself amidst for several days a week. However, the suspicion that the logbooks are out there and connected to these antiques seems likely. Ethan’s girlfriend Kay, an attorney, represents the Ballantine family who has long held an interest in finding the real brass plate [a fake currently exists] and log books.

This mystery is far from antiquated and dusty, there’s murder, chases, and cutthroat deals. When I first received the book and saw that it was about Sir Francis Drake and boating and other seemingly male interests, I wasn’t sure it would be my type of read. I don’t gravitate to that many thrillers even if I like to mix up my reading. Drake’s Bay remains smart, challenging, and provocative from beginning to end. I know my stepfather, a former Navy officer in Vietnam, should really enjoy this one. Drake’s Bay is anything from the usual on the run thriller: an old wooden schooner, Amsterdam, a father-son relationship, moneyed families, competitive universities and scholars all play a role in this deceptively cunning thriller. ( )
  writergal85 | Apr 9, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My Thoughts:
At the heart of this story are the supposed logbooks of Sir Frances Drake, explorer in the time of Elizabeth I. There are also two waring families who both want the logbooks and will do whatever it takes to get those books. Put an almost 60 year old scholar and his pre-law girlfriend into the mix and it makes for a very good suspenseful and entertaining story.They both live on a boat and both get involved on opposite sides. His father was a historian and there is a possibility that before his death, he supposedly had and hid these logbooks that everyone is looking for. I will not go into any more detail as that would give away the story. I enjoyed the book and there was enough action to keep me interested with some tense moments on the ocean near San Francisco. If you like a good mystery and like history, this book is for you. ( )
  celticlady53 | Mar 18, 2010 |
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My father walked with me up from the shore at Drake's Bay.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157962197X, Hardcover)

On a quiet Sunday morning in San Francisco, scholar Ethan Storey and his girlfriend are touring an open house in the hills. It is an archive of rare books and Ethan comes to believe that the rarest of the rare may be here: the logbooks of the 1577-1580 world voyage of Sir Francis Drake. These have been lost to history suppressed by Queen Elizabeth, who thought they contained the state secrets of the Northwest Passage. Where had Drake sailed? A brass plate purportedly left behind by Drake near San Francisco Bay and found in the 1930s had been accepted as genuine, then exposed as fraud, re-validated and exposed again. It was always suspected that the actual records of the voyage might still exist, and if found would make the plate, validated, a treasure for its owner. But if the powerful California family that held the plate of brass was desperate for cash, yet would rather destroy the logbooks than see them made public, something else must be going on. The logbooks are the nexus of a contemporary story of greed as violent and conspiratorial as anything in the sixteenth century. As Ethan, a university professor in midlife with doubts about his much younger lover, searches for the logs, he also discovers much more about her, his emotionally detached father, and the power of historical events to shape our lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:36 -0400)

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